Yoji Yamada’s What a Wonderful Family! II (家族はつらいよ2) joins a long list of Japanese films set to play at the Beijing International Film Festival (April 16-23).
Festival organisers announced the film as a world premiere as part of its latest lineup announcement. However, the film is currently set to screen on April 15th at the Hong Kong International Festival, a day before the opening of BJIFF.
UPDATE: The Beijing Screenings portion of the festival will begin on Apr 8th – a full week before the official start of the festival. What a Wonderful Family II will screen on the 14th, making it the world premiere.
Set several years after the original film, What a Wonderful Family! II sees the Hirata family in another crisis when the family patriarch reunites with an old friend. The Chinese remake of the original film, directed by actor Huang Lei, is set to open in China on May 11th.
Other films in the lineup announcement include a program dedicated to Billie August, the jury president for this year’s Tiantan Award competition, a retrospective of films featuring Hong Kong comedian Michael Hui (though his latest film, Godspeed (一路順風), is missing from the lineup) and a program dedicated to notable Chinese films from the past year.
The announced lineup has another notable absence. According to Korean media, BJIFF has decided to keep Korean films out of its lineup entirely due to the fallout from the South Korean’s government’s decision to install the THAAD anti-missile system. In addition to calls for boycott and anti-Korean protests, tour groups to South Korea have been canceled and Korean celebrities have been kept off the airwaves in recent months. Lotte, who offered a golf course it owns for the missile site, was forced to temporarily close its outlets in China.
Meanwhile, festival organizers seemed to have compensated for the lack of Korean titles with a larger than usual number of Japanese films. In addition to What a Wonderful Family! II, the 500-film lineup also includes films by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shin Godzilla (シン・ゴジラ), zombie thriller I Am a Hero (アイアムアヒーロー), Naoko Ogigami’s Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、), Rage (怒り), The Long Excuse (永い言い訳) and many others.
The rest of the lineup, including films in the Tiantan competition, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.